SCRAN FIR BEES 

Scran Fir Bees Community Arts project, Ferry Road junction with West Granton Access Road

North Edinburgh Arts is working with Artist Natalie Taylor on a butterfly and bee-friendly art project in Muirhouse  and West Pilton. Not only does this landscape art intervention offer nectar-rich flowers for our struggling pollinators, but also it delivers a serious message in Scottish slang whilst adding a splash of colour to a busy roadside verge.

SCRAN FIR BEES is a huge community artwork written large beside Ferry Road in North Edinburgh, passed by hundreds of cars and buses every day, and highly visible from the cycle path bridge which passes over it nearby. 

These letters are cut from the verge grass and already seeded with flowering native annuals such as cornflower, poppy, corn marigold and corn poppy which will bloom in the summer. These will supply a steady source of pollen and nectar for our struggling pollinators (bumble bees, honey bees, solitary bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, hoverflies) which have been badly affected by various factors including “intensification in land-use, habitat loss, pests, diseases, invasive species, inappropriate use of agrochemicals and climate change“ (Defra) in recent decades. In fact, our insect populations are down by around 40% since 1970 which has knock-on effects with the rest of nature’s food chain and, more worryingly, impacts our own. 

The second seeding of the artwork is planned for late summer in another location in the area. This time it will spell out BEES FIR OUR SCRAN; bees and other pollinators contribute approximately £690 million to our UK economy by pollinating around 80% of our native and imported food crops through the action of their gathering pollen and nectar from flower to flower.  

Locally produce food such as strawberries, apples, pears, blueberries, cherries, raspberries potatoes, pumpkins and oilseed rape are all reliant on insect pollination. While abroad, foods such as coffee, chocolate, almonds, watermelons, avocado and peach are on the list. 

Our aim is to encourage people to accept and help with more wildflower verges across the city and reduce the use of pesticides in public spaces. A third of our food is reliant on insects, such as bees and butterflies, and due to a drastic collapse in insect population recently, the time to help them is now before it’s too late…

Artist Natalie Taylor

North Edinburgh Arts is delighted to be working with Artist Natalie Taylor on a new creative public project which aims to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and wildflowers. Through our Green projects we deliver a range of activities relating to gardening, nature and the outdoors, both in the NEA garden as well as in the wider community. ” 

Valla Moodie, Green Projects Manager, North Edinburgh Arts 

Enabled by Edinburgh City Council Housing service 

Funded by the University of Edinburgh’s Community Micro-Grant  and The National Lottery: Together For Our Planet Fund 

Information sources:

DEFRA: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210926/pb13981-bees-pollinators-review.pdf 

Centre of Food Security: https://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/food-security/cfs_case_studies_-_sustainable_pollination_services.pdf